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Full Name: Brian Patrick Harty
Born 12th. November 1976 - Died 13th. September 2010
Educated at St. Declan's National School, De La Salle College, Waterford Institute of Technology
Qualifications: BSc in Commercial Software Development; Diploma in Commercial Computing; National Certificate in Computing (in Commercial Computing)
Excerpt from the
Link to the original article in The Munster Express online
Published on Friday, September 17th, 2010
Death of popular musician and WIT staff member
It is with deep regret that we record the untimely passing of one of Waterford’s most popular musicians, Brian Harty, former bassist with The Jam Tarts and Ashley Sheehan and The Mute. In his 33rd year, Brian died on Monday following an accident on Sunday morning precipitated by a sudden illness.
His remains will be removed from Waterford Regional Hospital tonight (Wednesday) to the Church of SS Joseph and Benildus, Newtown, and Requiem Mass will be celebrated tomorrow (Thursday) at 12-noon followed by interment at St Mary’s Cemetery, Ballygunner.
Son of retired Garda Sergeant Noel Harty and Marie Harty (nee Sheridan), Brian’s family home was at Ballinakina, Woodstown, but for some years he had resided in Earls Court. Educated at St Declan’s Primary School, De La Salle College and WIT, Brian was a valued and highly popular member of staff at WIT where he was employed in the IT Department.
He is survived by his parents, Noel and Marie; his sister, Rachel Evans; brother-in-law, John; his nieces Saran and Maia; his girlfriend, Claudia; relatives and many friends.
Excerpt from the Waterford News & Star
Eulogy delivered by his Friend Rob O’Connor at Brian’s Funeral
I am deeply honoured that Brian’s family have allowed me to say a few words today. While today is a desperately sad day, I’d like to focus on the full and bright life Brian led. Over the past few nights, all sorts of stories and anecdotes about Brian have come out, to much laughter and a more than a few tears.
I’ve been lucky enough to call Brian my friend for pretty much most of my life. My first memory of Brian is in the Morrissey back garden with Mick, maybe 3 years old, splashing water at him through the fence. I guess nearly 30 years later, we were still at the same antics.
We became closer friends playing in the St. Declan’s Pipe Band, along with Fintan. I don’t think we did it because we had any great love of the bagpipes, but being in the band was a great way to get a few days off school, as we went to events, matches and whatnot.
I remember his spiky hairstyle as a young boy. His hair was something he was always particular about, right up to the end. We used to joke that Brian couldn’t pass a mirror or reflective surface without combing and re-combing his hair.
Many of us here today are friends since schooldays, whether it was St. Declan’s or De La Salle. I think it’s quite amazing that as a bunch of friends, we’re largely still together. That’s thanks in no small part to Brian. He was a great man for keeping people in touch.
I remember him going on holidays to San Francisco as a teenager, the most exotic place any of us had travelled to at that point. He came back clutching a new bass guitar and an autograph from Mike Patton of Faith No More. I’m not quite sure how he ended up playing bass as it’s generally an instrument nobody sets out to play – I think Dave or Jamie Grimes or Fintan Kavanagh or someone must’ve convinced him to get one, to complete one of the numerous bands we all played in. As a young teenager, I and a lot of the lads here today always thought the bass guitar was the most boring instrument to play in a band. Of course, as I got older I realised that the heart of any decent band is the bass player. I think this is something Brian knew very early on. And it’s something he never let any of us forget, even for a moment. “Bass is fantastic” was a line he used more than once.
Brian was the first of any of us to have access to a car and I fondly remember the Yellow Fiat Ritmo. I mean no offence to his Mam and Dad when I say it was a banger, but it was his banger, and I suppose we thought of it as our banger. Believe it or not, I still have one of the ash trays of the Ritmo at home in a drawer in my parents’ house. Fintan has one too – more of you out there may have other parts of the car, which he gave away before it was scrapped.
We started college on the same day together. Kevin Kehoe, Catherine Grant, Brian and myself all trotting out to WIT together to study computing. Sometime into Brian’s college career, his Dad Noel retired from the Gardaí and decided to go to WIT himself, studying computing also. Now, it must be kind of disconcerting, being at college and finding your Dad knocking around the place too. In some ways, I think it made the two of them closer. I mean, whoever thinks they’ll share class notes with their Dad? There’s a wonderful photo around of Noel and Brian graduating on the same day. Funnily enough, they ended up working together years later when Brian returned to WIT as an IT technician, after a spell in Limerick Institute. I believe they had desks next to one another. Brian had other great friends in Computer Services too. Apparently, they all had names for one another, and Brian’s was the most apt of all. As “Mr. Zen”, he made sure never to get too stressed or worried about work. While he loved his job, he worked to live instead of living to work. I had the pleasure of working alongside him in WIT too. We often met up for coffee in the canteen, staying longer than the authorised 15 minutes as we discussed life, the universe and everything. Those regular meetings, in which we solved the problems of the world, are something I will truly miss.
At work and elsewhere, Brian helped people out in any way he could. I suppose it was this characteristic that led him to Africa a few years ago, where he went building houses and schools. It was something he repeated again a few years later with Claudia in Cambodia, this time teaching English in the village of Tropansdock with the small NGO, Sorya. He joked (and I don’t know how true this is) that he used to mix Waterford slang in with his lessons, so perhaps there’s a bunch of Cambodians out there greeting English speaking visitors with a hearty “Well Boy”.
One of the great loves in Brian’s life was music. You could say he was obsessed with it and there’s nobody I know who loved playing as much as Brian did. His bass lunges were legendary – in fact, over the past few days I’ve seen numerous comments on his Facebook page saying just that. He played countless gigs with The Jam Tarts, as well as making numerous records with Ashley and the boys in The Mute, which probably haven’t been heard as much as they should have. If you get the chance, check them out – the bass playing on them is fantastic.
As good a bass player as he was, he was just as terrible a singer. If any of you have ever been at a party with him where there’s a guitar, you’ve probably been treated to his unique rendition of the classic Wham hit ‘ Last Christmas’. He used to play that at the drop of a hat – it could be the middle of July on a blisteringly hot afternoon and he’d start singing that song. We all used to roll our eyes to heaven, but I think we all secretly loved it. What was even better was that Brian loved our reaction just as much, because that was all part of the performance.
In recent years, Brian was bitten big time by the travel bug. In a few short years, he saw more of the world than most people do in an entire lifetime. He made friends and touched people’s lives all over the world, in America, Australia, New Zealand, all across Asia and most recently Eastern Europe. On his Facebook page, people from all across the globe have expressed their sadness, recounted memories and posted photographs of the Brian Harty that they knew. Brian had many sides to him, and there were friends on all sides.
Brian was incredibly proud of his extended family. He often spoke about his cousins in Kilkenny or Tipperary and talked at length about his relatives in the States, especially his Aunt Trish in New York and his Uncles in San Francisco. When he and Mick went on their extended trip around the world, he often emailed me or spoke to me on the phone about how great it was to meet up with his relatives in the States. And of course, we all remember the extended Sheridan clan in Ennisnag. As well as loving the people, I think Brian was happy to know there was a pub in the family.
Brian had a special place in his heart for his sister Rachel. He was so proud of her achievements, professionally in radiography and personally in marrying John, making a life for themselves in Wales and having two gorgeous children: Saran and Maia. He was particularly fond of the two girls and loved visiting them. I remember when he came back to Ireland after his travels and met Saran for the first time. He thought it was weird that his little sister was now a Mammy and that she was so good she was at it. When Maia recently came along, he called her his Little Mohican, after the shock of hair she sports on her head. He was just mad about all four of them. Although, he did say once to me that he needed to spend as much time as possible with his nieces in order to influence their musical tastes as they got older, because he feared that as good a Mam as Rachel is, she might have the girls listening to Jedward.
I was going back over my emails from Brian yesterday and I found one he sent me from Perth, after I had told him that my wife Jenny was pregnant. It really made me laugh because he insisted on reminding me not to forget about him in all the excitement:
“Just a friendly bit of advice there Rob. Remember back years ago in Avondale when my little sister came along and got all the attention, what did I do?? Yeah you remember, I got into my toy truck and drove around the corner to the Morrisseys who took me in as one of their own and gave me refugee status. And need I remind you of the time, I recklessly abandoned my little baby sister on the Avondale hill because I just WANTED SOME ATTENTION!!!”
That was Brian, the most lovable attention-seeker of them all. He needn’t have worried. No matter what has happened in my life, Brian has always been a constant, and the fact that he’s not with us to hear me give him all this attention makes no difference. He will always be a constant for me, for the rest of his friends, and for his family.
Which brings me to his parents. I know Brian always saw his Dad, Noel as a reliable figure, someone he could count on, especially when it came to fixing things. I think Noel built or installed half of the things in Brian’s house. Maybe fathers and sons don’t tell each other how they feel often enough, but he loved his Dad so much and Noel heavily influenced the man he became. He may not have inherited your DIY skill, but Brian was certainly got that reliability characteristic. Brian was someone we could all count on and someone who came through for me, on the most important day of my life, the day I was married.
If Noel taught Brian how to live, then his Mam – Marie - taught him how to love. One characteristic Brian had in abundance was charity and I suppose when he had a mother like Marie, he couldn’t help but be a generous person, especially when you think of all the good work Marie has done over the years, with the Samaritans or with charities in Albania or other deeds. Marie, he loved you – you were his Mam. Although, he did often complain about you leaving Country n’ Western CDs in his car. He’d get a shock to turn on the car stereo to hear Charlie Lansborough blaring out, rather than Bob Dylan.
A couple of years ago, I received an email from Brian, when he was living in Darwin to say he’d met this German girl. At first, I thought nothing of it. Then he started describing her, saying how beautiful she was – still I didn’t pay much attention, thinking “that’s just Harty”. About a week later, I spoke to him on the phone and he went off on one about this girl Claudia. I had NEVER heard Brian speak about anyone like this before – he really was knocked for six – and I thought to myself, “My God, has someone finally tamed Brian Harty?” They travelled together for a while around Australia, and then through Asia, eventually stopping to teach English in Cambodia as I mentioned earlier. Shortly before he returned home in 2009, he sent me an email, encapsulating his news with the phrase:
All is great here, I'm still in Cambodia and I've got Claudia by my side so life is great
That was all Brian needed. When he returned from travelling, everyone commented on how he’d changed. Party Harty was calmer, contented in himself and full of the joys, but that wasn’t down to the travelling; it was down to falling in love.
In the same email, he signed off with,
...Oh and Claudia says Hi! She's looking forward to meeting ye all. She's applied to university in Cork and Dublin so it's lookin like I won't be returning home alone!...I left with a Mick and I'll come back with a chick ;)
Once we met her, I think all of us knew this was it for Brian. He was completely smitten. Recently, Claudia had been on holidays in Germany and she was Spain over the past few weeks. While she was away, she and Brian spoke via Skype for hours nearly every day. I know they had a lengthy chat on Saturday afternoon, as they made plans for the future. When Marc, Mick and I met Claudia in Cork airport on Sunday evening, my heart was completely broken as I thought about the life they might have had together.
But, for the few short years Claudia was in his life, she made it brighter and better. Anyone can love another person, but it takes two people to be IN LOVE with each other. Claudia, Brian was completely head over heels madly in love WITH you. And isn’t that something.
On Saturday night, a bunch of us went out. His close friends Ashley and Fintan were playing on the Quay as part of the Harvest Festival, and there was music well into the evening. Kevin, Enda, Mick, Brian and myself were laughing and joking, enjoying a few beers as we listened to the musicians perform. The highlight of Brian’s night was when the combined group of musicians came out and played ‘The Weight’ by the Band as an encore. It was one of his favourite songs.
Afterwards, we went up to Downes’ and then onto the Forum for some deeply philosophical conversation and terrible dancing. What none of us realised was that the bleed in Brian’s head had already begun. Afterwards, Brian and Mick came back to my house for a short while. Brian had us both in stitches. He was doing a spot-on impression of me, something he’s seemingly been doing for years. It was the first time I’d heard it! Brian soon started playing the guitar, lecturing Mick and myself about how playing the bass was different to playing the regular guitar. Mick and I both rolled our eyes to heaven. The two boys got a taxi home and for me, that was the last time I really saw Brian. He’d had a great few hours of music, laughter, terrible dancing and craic with his friends. That’s not a bad last night to have on this Earth.
His illness was very sudden and his death has shocked everyone. But Brian’s final act was one of goodness and charity. Because he was a fit and healthy young man, he was able to donate his organs. As we all experience our sadness, elsewhere there is joy. Today, somewhere there are four worthy individuals, their families and friends all thanking their lucky stars for Brian Harty. Maybe you’re not supposed to speak about organ donation at these things, but I think it’s important because that last generous act says it all about Brian.
Brian didn’t fear death. It was odd in that he would happily talk about his own death without hesitation. He knew we all have our own short time on this Earth before moving onto the next one so he wanted to pack in as much as he could. Perhaps we all should pay heed to that lesson.
Wherever you are now Brian, I have no doubt that you’ve got a pot of coffee on the boil, you’re strumming Last Christmas on the guitar and you’re planning your next adventure. God speed mate– it’s been one of the greatest pleasures and honours in my life to have been the best of friends with you for so long. I wish you well on your journey and I look forward to talking with you about life, the universe and everything again, someday.
A Video Clip of his Sky Dive in Byron Bay Australia
Playing the Guitar with his English Class, Tropanstock, Cambodia Feb. 2009
Death Announcement and on-line tributes in the Irish Independent
Brian has over 4,000 photos taken on his world travels uploaded to his Facebook page.
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